IFR blog > Student questions
How do I get started in IFR?

I have heard a lot of good things about IFR. I want to begin practicing the method but I'm not sure where to start. Can you tell me what materials I need?

Do I need to read sheet music to understand IFR?

I've heard so many great things about IFR. Is it necessary for me to read sheet music to understand the concepts in your book?

Should advanced musicians skip ahead in IFR?

An advanced trumpet player asks if he should skip over the beginning IFR materials and go directly to the IFR Standards Workouts. But for any advanced player who struggles to play by ear, it's in the very first IFR activities that you will learn this ability.

Am I ready for the IFR jam tracks?

I want to purchase IFR Jam Tracks Level 1 but I don't know if my current level of knowledge is enough to be able to use them. Right now I'm practicing IFR Exercise 2 and I'm in the Seven Worlds exercises. Do I need to go farther or is this enough to start improvising with the jam tracks?

How to pick up tunes and improvise confidently?

I have problems remembering tunes and I want to feel more confident improvising. I want to tell a story rather than just randomly playing what comes to my fingers or thought. I really want to train my ears so I can just pick up a tune instantly and play.

When to advance in Sing the Numbers 1?

For IFR students using our ear training audio course Sing the Numbers 1: The IFR Tonal Map, in this video I'll help you understand how to get the most out of this course and how to decide when you're ready to move on from each lesson to the next.

How does IFR address pentatonic scales?

I enjoy the Improvise For Real method very much. Just wanted to ask, with pentatonic scales being so important in music around the world, and particularly loved by guitarists, how can we incorporate them into our practice?

Will IFR help me understand chord symbols?

I notice that at least in the beginning of your method, you don't talk about chord types like major, minor, dominant, diminished. You describe everything only as the "1 chord" the "2 chord", etc. So how will I know how to improvise over songs with chord symbols like "A-7b5"?

Improvise for Real in print

I'm excited to try the IFR method but I would prefer to have a hard copy of your book. Is Improvise for Real available in print?

What about minor sounds and blues sounds?

If the major scale is the origin of all Western music, then how should we think about songs that are in a minor key, or blues music that doesn't seem to be based on the major scale at all?